How to give a massage

February 12, 2012 5:51:04 AM PST
Whether it is for Valentine's Day, another special occasion, or just to do something nice, a massage is a great way for you and your partner to relax and connect.

Plus, it will not cost you a dime! Robin Helton, Program Chair of the Massage Therapy Division at Everest College-Burr Ridge (link:, and Bradley Kenaga, a current student in the Everest College-Burr Ridge massage therapy program, came into our ABC7 studio to show us easy massage techniques we can all use at home.

And if you are interested in a career in massage therapy in Illinois, make sure you enroll in a certified and accredited training program. In addition, most states, including Illinois, require students to take a board test and become licensed to perform massage therapy.

Massage Tips from Robin
1. A common misconception about massages is that it has to hurt to feel good.
2. Remind your partner to breathe normally - this helps facilitate relaxation. People often stop or limit their breathing when they feel anxious or a sensitive area is massaged.
3. When conducting a massage, it's important to use your whole hand.
4. It is important to take the proper precautions when conducting an at-home massage - if done improperly, it can cause more harm than good. Communicate any discomfort immediately to your partner, and stop the massage.

Common and Easy Techniques for At-Home Massages:

1. Raking
- Use your fingertips with your fingers spread apart.
- Start at the shoulder area, and move your hands down the back in a raking motion.
- Move your fingers alongside the spine but not on the spine.
- Alter the motion so that one hand is going down on one side while the other is going up on the other side.

2. Fan Stroke
- Use oil to eliminate friction on the skin.
- Have the person lie face down, and then kneel with your knees on either side of them.
- Put pressure on the lower neck and across the shoulders. In order to do that, you want to have your fingers facing outward away from the spine with your palms in the middle of the back.
- Using a fan-shaped stroke, you want to move your hand up the back to the shoulder blades and then to the outer edge of the body away from the spine.
- Be sure that you don't put pressure on the spine itself, only alongside it.

3. Circling Hands
- This starts on the lower back and moves up the length of the back.
- Start with your hands flat and, using a gentle counterclockwise motion, circle your hand up the back while keeping your fingers pointed outwards away from the spine
. - Use the right hand on the right side of the body and the left hand on the left side of the body.
- Move upwards with one hand, then the other, then the first again, repeating as much as you want.